My spiritual journey with The Manger Build has been a process similar to starting a fire with flint and steel.
The first “spark” for me was struck at the Iron Sharpens Iron conference I attended in March 2012 in Richmond, VA. It was my first conference and it was overwhelming at times because of so many incredible ministry opportunities. I cannot fully describe why The Manger Build was so inspiring for me, but I distinctly remember feeling something stir inside of me that day.
It always takes many attempts to get that one spark that lights the kindling. My next “spark” included looking online in December 2012 to see if there were any host churches nearby that I could take my two boys (ages 3 and 5 at the time) to participate in the event. I did not see any host churches in the Richmond area so I dismissed the idea and threw myself back into the holiday madness.
However, The Manger Build settled in some part of my brain, much like an itch in the middle of your back that you can’t quite scratch yourself. Fast forward to March 2013 at my next Iron Sharpens Iron conference. I sat in an auditorium of almost 1,000 men when that “perfect spark” was struck within me and started a small flame within my soul. I made up my mind that instant that I wanted my church to host The Manger Build event.
The next step was to add some kindling and tinder to keep that flame going. I brought the idea to our Church council meeting in June and it was warmly received and endorsed by everyone there. I then began planning, plotting, and praying for God’s guidance and discernment to help me past a small issue that was plaguing me. That “small” issue was the fact that I have minimal knowledge about wood except that it comes from those tall things with green stuff on top known as trees. Luckily, I have a deep pool of faithful, talented men who are plenty knowledgeable about wood. Every single person I asked to help out pledged their support, despite the fact that I was asking them to commit to an event that was at least four months away. That small flame was starting to grow in size now.
Throughout the summer I would occasionally blow on this fire by checking the Noble Warriors website for updates and in September I spoke with Mike Young to let him know our intentions to be a host church. As updates began trickling in, I began checking more frequently until I was checking first thing each morning (huffing and puffing away like the big bad wolf at the fire). I ordered the Church Resource Kit the first day it was available and the package came within two days.
Now that I had the Church Resource Kit in hand, it was time to throw some fuel on to get a good, long and hot fire burning. I began mustering a team of men, dividing duties, and prayerfully considering the logistics of hosting a successful Manger Build. Two of my team members and I attended one of the Manger Build training events in Fredericksburg on October 10th. At that workshop Mike listened to our ideas, answered our questions, and presented “The Big Idea” behind the Manger Build. I listened intently as men from other churches talked about what went wrong and what went right at their Manger Build events in the past. Most importantly though, Mike prayed with us and for us to intentionally take this step to help lead the men in our church down a path to become the spiritual leader of their home.
Please remember that starting a fire with flint and steel is never as easy as the concept may seem. You can strike the flint and steel hundreds of times and make a lot of sparks which may look pretty but won’t ignite any fires. You can start a fire, but if you don’t have enough kindling to nurture it along, it will quickly burn out. And I suspect the most challenging step will be to find the “right” type of fuel to keep the spiritual fires burning within all of the men who participate in The Manger Build. So please pray for the men of North Run Baptist Church as we begin this exciting adventure on Saturday December 7th.
North Run Baptist Church